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Reference person

The reference person is the individual who completed the dwelling form on census night. They are therefore the one person whose relationship(s) to all the other people in a group of people is collected.

Refused to answer

This category is used only when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question.

Regional council

Regional councils were established in November 1989 after the abolition of the 22 local government regions. A total of 14 regional councils were defined by the local government commission. In 1992 this was increased to 16.

The Local Government Amendment Act (No. 3) 1988 requires the boundaries of regions to conform as far as possible to one or more water catchments. When determining regional boundaries, the Local Government Commission also gave consideration to regional communities of interest, natural resource management, land use planning and environmental matters.

Regional councils are defined at meshblock and area unit level. The seaward boundary of the regions is the 12-mile (19.3km) New Zealand territorial limit.

Regional councils cover every territorial authority in New Zealand, with the exception of the Chatham Islands Territory. Generally, regional councils contain complete territorial authorities. Where territorial authorities straddle regional council boundaries, the affected area has been statistically defined in complete area units. For 2006 boundaries, there are eight instances of territorial authority boundaries straddling regional council boundaries.

Refer also to ‘meshblock’, ‘area unit’ and ‘territorial authority’.


People who have a familial relationship.

Refer also to 'familial relationship'.

Relationship to reference person

Relationship to reference person is a variable that describes the familial and non-familial relationships of each person in a defined group of people to one person (the reference person).

Refer also to 'reference person'.

Religious affiliation

Religious affiliation is the self-identified association of a person with a religion, denomination or sub-denominational religious group.

A denomination is the church or religious sect that forms a subgroup of a religion. Denominations of a particular religion share the same principles but differ from each other in aspects, such as the form of worship used and the way in which they are governed.

Residual category

Residual categories may be broadly described as universal classification categories that capture particular types of survey responses. For example, non-response is common to all surveys, and a standard residual category descriptor may be used to identify this type of response (‘not stated’).

Refer also to 'don't know', 'not stated', 'refused to answer', 'response outside scope' and 'response unidentifiable'.

Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (that is, the meaning and intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Response unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given but:

  • the response is illegible, or
  • it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
  • the response is contradictory, eg both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
  • the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification but cannot be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.

Rural area

The rural areas of New Zealand are those which are not specifically designated as 'urban'. They include rural centres, and district territories where these are not included in main, secondary or minor urban areas, and inlets, islands, inland waters and oceanic waters that are outside urban areas.

Refer also to 'urban area'.

Rural centre

Rural centres were established during the 1989 review of geostatistical boundaries. Rural centres have no administrative or legal status but are statistical units defined by complete area units. They have a population between 300 and 999. These are not termed 'urban' under standard international definitions, but identifying these settlements enables users to distinguish between rural dwellers living in true rural areas and those living in rural settlements or townships.

Refer also to ‘area unit’.

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